"Death and Guacamole" NPR (88.1 WVPE) Radio Commentary with Michiana Chronicles

NOTE: Audio for this is HERE.

By Heather Curlee Novak

I made guacamole today.

I made guacamole today to celebrate life. I made guacamole as a ritual with which to honor a death. A young woman I have never met died yesterday. I learned this when I dropped off some books at my friend Stephanie’s house. I found her beautiful that morning in the unmade up way of the stay at home, work at home mama. Radiant skin, long brunette hair falling in waves loose and beautiful around her shoulders, full skirt and tired smile on her face.

I didn’t know until later she might have been crying. She had just found out her good friend Samantha lost a battle with cancer at twenty-eight years old. Samantha helped her set up the “Listen To Your Mother” show I got to be in and Stephanie directed. Listen to Your Mother was how Stephanie and I had first met.

So we stood at her front door talking about life and death and naked Saturday (which you would understand if you have small children, or if you watched our “Listen to Your Mother” Show on You Tube.) We exchanged some books. We talked about faith and churches and open-mindedness. We admired her daughter, spinning to show off her princess skirt. I stayed on the front porch step, eyeing my two daughters dozing in the car.

I didn’t try to soothe what I imagine was a very heavy heart. I felt embarrassed because I wasn’t sure if I got to meet Samantha. I was uncomfortable not knowing how to react to the death of someone I might or might not know who was younger than I was and left many people without enough time with her. So I made guacamole.

I was inspired to hit the kitchen after I looked at Stephanie’s blog www.adventuresinbabywearing.com to see what she might have written about this loss. She simply wrote that she laid on the grass in her yard and felt the sun on her face. That when she got hungry she went in and made guacamole and ate it straight out of the mixing bowl. This is all she wrote that day. I knew she was writing about grief. She was writing about how precious little moments are. She was missing a friend’s future and what their relationship might have become if years lost could have progressed. She wasn’t making guacamole; she was celebrating life and revering death.

I had an avocado in my vegetable drawer. I had tortilla chips in the pantry. I had an onion, a lime, garlic cloves, cumin, tomatoes and sea salt. I too made guacamole. I celebrated life and revered death and missed a woman I may have never met.

1 comment:

karmickey27 said...

It's interesting how we can react to the news of the death of someone we don't actually know. I find myself grieving heavily sometimes, even when I don't know the deceased. Just goes to show the impact people can have, even on the lives of those they've never met.